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Three Problems An Underdeveloped Lower Jaw Can Cause

When everything goes the way that it should as a child, the upper and lower jaw grow almost perfectly evenly. While mild overbites aren't a big problem, if something happened that caused the lower jaw to not grow as much as the upper one, it can cause significant issues for you. If you know that your lower jaw doesn't protrude as much as it should, these are three things that you may be facing without help.


Snoring is a big problem for many people, and it can have multiple causes, like carrying excess weight or drinking alcohol. However, an underdeveloped lower jaw can cause this problem, too.

When the lower jaw is smaller or shorter than it should be, there isn't as much space for your tongue to stretch out and relax. As a result, it can fall backwards, as the muscles in your neck and mouth relax.  This can partially block your windpipe. This can not only lead to snoring, but in extreme cases, sleep apnea, which is a very dangerous condition that can put your life at risk without treatment.

Difficulty Speaking Clearly

Just like with snoring, enunciating or speaking clearly may be tougher for you, too. Speech developed around people with normal-sized, symmetrical jaws, allowing the tongue to relax in the base of the mouth and move as needed. However, if your tongue is cramped, achieving certain sounds and enunciating clearly can be difficult. If you've frequently been criticized for slurring or mumbling, this may be the problem behind it.

Limited Motion

Finally, an underdeveloped jaw can sometimes cause mobility issues for you. The jaw joints that connect the upper and lower jaw allow your mouth to open and close, and shift partially from side to side. However, if your lower jaw is underdeveloped, stress can develop in the joint. This can cause a myriad of problems, starting with simple soreness and stiffness. However, if it goes on for long enough, it can cause the cushioning in the joint to start breaking down. From here, it's possible to develop osteoarthritis of the joint, which can make everything from chewing to speaking difficult or painful.

The good news is that a dentist can help you with all of this. Orthognathic surgery is a popular treatment method that helps by moving the jaw into the proper position and stimulating it to grow new bone to fill in the gaps. This isn't a quick procedure, but once it is done and the healing process is complete, your jaw will look and feel firmer, more pronounced, and these potential issues will be less likely to happen to you.